New The North Face T-Shirts Celebrate Black Mountaineers

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The outdoors is for everyone. It’s a fact, but yet those people who roam the trails, climb rocks and camp under the stars are still predominantly white. With a new collection of T-shirts spotlighting past and present black mountaineers, Sophia Danenberg and Phil Henderson, respectively, The North Face wants to help change that. While there are no plans – at least publicly – to financially support either of the featured climbers (or the organizations they own and operate), the spotlight alone is enough to inspire future generations of BIPOC explorers, hope Danenburg and Henderson.

Of the more than 10,000 people who have summited Mount Everest, only six were black, Henderson points out in a short video celebrating Black History Month and The North Face collection, “New Heights with Black Joy” . His own climbing journey was also sidetracked, he says, but he will lead the first-ever all-black expedition team (the Full Circle Everest team) to the summit of Everest later this year.

“I can honestly say that I didn’t think or know the words of Mount Everest until I was 30. Climbing, I didn’t really know what it was even though I lived right next to it. “wasn’t in my community. I wanted to learn more about these outdoor activities,” he explains in the video. A friend directed him to two resources, Outward Bound and NOLS. The NOLS Catalog, an organization wilderness education outreach, “opened my eyes to these other things you can do for a living,” he says.

For Danenberg, there were 15 intense, recorded ascents before conquering Everest in 2006, becoming both the first black American and black woman to do so. She proved it was possible and now the Full Circle Everest team is past its premiere, laying the groundwork for generations of black outdoor explorers to come. You can support the Full Circle Everest Team Expedition by donating to their ongoing fundraiser, which has a goal of $200,000 but remains short of $31,000 at press time.


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